As a parent, you want all your child’s hopes and dreams to come true. And when a deferral letter or email arrives from a college, you feel their disappointment almost as intensely as they do.

While a deferral from your child’s Early Action or Early Decision school is never an ideal scenario, it doesn’t have to be a reason to give up hope. 

Here are 5 tips on what your child can do to turn that deferral decision from a “maybe” to a “yes.”

And below, we’ll go into further detail about how to email the school and formally communicate continued interest with the admissions office.

What Is a LOCI & Why Should My Child Write One?

LOCI stands for letter of continued interest and is sent to the admissions office, after your child has been deferred or waitlisted.

LOCIs are a chance to:

  • Let the college know your child is still interested
  • Update the college on any new information since the application was submitted
  • Reaffirm why your teen is a great fit academically, socially, and personally

Should a Letter of Interest (LOCI) Be Sent to Every School?

Your child should write a LOCI unless the school explicitly says not to.

If your student has been asked not to send any additional materials, then please adhere to those guidelines. 

Always follow any prompts from the school. Some schools will only ask for your student to check a box, others will ask for specific information – whether an essay or updated grades.

And if they ask for the LOCI to be a certain length, be sure to abide by that. 

Here is an example of what a school can ask for:

“Please use this space to provide us with any updates you would like for us to consider when reviewing your application. Common updates include new awards, activities, leadership roles, or self-reported grades earned during the first term of your senior year. This update is optional and can be edited (even after submission) through January 31. Max words: 300.”

When Should the LOCI Be Sent?

Some schools will give a deadline to submit this.

If no deadline is given, then have your child talk to their college counselor about what and when to submit.

If a school does not give specific instructions, you can look at the school’s regular decision deadline and work a few weeks back from that. You certainly want your information included in their review of regular decision applications. 

If your child was deferred, we recommend sending the LOCI no later than the 3rd week of January and in some cases, even early February is okay so students can include additional grades and achievements. 

If your child was waitlisted, then that will move the timeline to May or June.

Will Writing a LOCI Increase My Child’s Chances of Admission?

There’s no guarantee that writing a letter of continued interest will increase your student’s chances, but it certainly won’t hurt (unless explicitly told not to send one).

Some schools – particularly smaller ones – do track continued interest (including campus visits).

We recommend that if your child really wants to get into the school, they should do everything in their power possible.

And by taking action, they learn a valuable skill of bouncing back from setbacks and to face challenges with resilience, perseverance, and a positive attitude.

What Should Be Included in the Letter of Continued Interest?

Admission officers are reading a lot of applications and LOCIs, so assume that they will skim the letter. 

Keep the letter to one page and make it easily scannable – consider using bullet points and italicize and/or bold the parts that should stand out.

Here’s a suggested format for the LOCI:

Part 1. Salutation

Your child should address the letter to a specific person (i.e. Dear Ms. Jones), rather than using the generic “To Whom It May Concern.”

When possible, use the name of the admissions person who is your regional representative – especially if the rep has met with your child through a college fair. The representative’s name is usually easy to find on the school’s admission website. 

If that name cannot be sourced, then use the name of the person who sent the deferral letter or the school’s director of admissions.

Always double-check the spelling of the admissions officer’s name.

Part 2. Express gratitude and continued interest

Your student should express continued interest in the school and thank the admissions officer for reviewing their application and allowing updates to be submitted – or words to that effect.

If (and only if!), this is the case, your teen can inform the school that it is their number one choice and that they will definitely attend if accepted.

Part 3. Write about updated information

Your student should include 1-3 updates since the college application was submitted. Start with the highest achievement or what’s most compelling. It’s important to not just present a laundry list, but to focus on the impact of these achievements.

If there are no new updates then go into the “Why Us” paragraph. 

Include 1-2 details describing “Why Us?” – Why your teen and the school are a great match. Such as what exactly inspired your child’s interest in the school and how their personality, interests, and passions will enhance the community.

Part 4.  Reiterate commitment and thank the school for their time and consideration. 

Let the admissions officer know that their time and effort are appreciated and offer to provide any additional information needed.

Part 5. Sign-off

Some sign-offs include “Best Regards” or the classic, “Sincerely,” followed by your child’s name.

It’s also a good idea for your child to include their applicant ID under their name.

How to Write the Letter of Continued Interest

Here’s our recommended process to help your child write the LOCI.

Recommended Process / Steps:

  1. Prepare to write.
  • Your child should double-check the deferral guidelines for any specific instructions or deadlines for LOCIs.
  • They should review the college application to refresh their memory on what was submitted to avoid repeating info that was already included.
  • Gather all updates that can be included in the LOCI. Then choose the top 2-3 most impactful ones. Think of awards, exams, internships, additional coursework, volunteer work, etc.
  • Brainstorm 1-2 ways to personalize the letter to the school – can they mention specific professors, academic programs, or extracurricular activities that captured their curiosity and sparked their passion? 
  1. Write a first draft.

Have your teen review the suggested LOCI format above as a guide to write the first draft.

  1. Have your child’s college counselor review the first draft and make suggested edits.
  1. Finalize the draft and send it to the college.

Remind your teen to keep the letter to one page and to have it proofread for typos and grammar. And to double-check again that all guidelines have been met.

What Should NOT Be Included in the Letter of Continued Interest?

The LOCI should not include any complaining, frustration, or sadness about being deferred or waitlisted. 

This is an opportunity for your teen to show qualities like resilience, perseverance, adaptability, and positivity.

Avoid including information that was already stated in the college application.

Finally, don’t mention being rejected by other schools and avoid talking about other schools your child has been accepted to.

Final Advice

After sending the LOCI, your child has done all that they can. Let them know you’re proud of them for taking action. Make sure your teen doesn’t dwell on the deferral decision and starts focusing on applying to regular decision colleges.

Most importantly, your teen should understand that a deferral is not a reflection of their character or a prediction of their future success.

If your child needs personalized guidance with a letter of continued interest, please reach out to us for a free discovery call.